How were ostriches perceived in the culture and mythology of the places in Africa where they indeginous to? I know that Ostrich feathers were commonly used in various types of headdress Was this for aesthetic or other reasons? I’m not well acquainted with African folklore, how are they seen from that standpoint? Were they “The king of the birds”?
Not what you’re asking, but interesting nonetheless:
In Europe, where Ostriches aren’t indigenous, they were nonetheless known. In the medieval bestiaries, all they had to go by were descriptions, which said that they were big birds with feet like a camel. The illustrations showed eagle-like birds with full-sized wings and fully feathered, with literal camel feet.
(This one’s even weirder – it has fox-like ears:
The illustrations often show outsized ostrich eggs, too. And one bird is shown looking up for the constellation The Pleiades, since the Ostrich lays its eggs when those stars are in the sky.
I don’t recall anything in my reading about ostriches (or rheas, or other large birds) in the mythologies of any people. The Maori talked about the moas, of course, but only as something they used to hunt that isn’t around any more.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they were known as “pretty tasty, but they can kick you into next week” to the indigeneous peoples.
I’ll just note in passing that historically ostriches were also native to most of the area which now speaks dialects of Arabic, i.e., the so-called Near and Middle East. Their extinction from these areas is a result of ‘modern’ hunting (19th and early 20th centuries). So any answer to the question here should consider this broader historical indigenous range, not the more restricted contemporary one.